What We Have Been Drinking—11/07/16

While we have been in our house for over a month now, I am still waiting for my wine cellar to be completed (please don’t ask). As a result, we have been buying a bit of wine to supplement the samples that are finally showing up after the ;long, hot summer here in Houston. I bought most of these from what we call “The H.E.B” (I am not sure if the locals refer to it as “Heb” or whether they use the definite article or not, but I am on a mission to find out without appearing like a total New-Be, thus it may take a while).

All of these wines were purchased there with the notable exception of the Kirkland Champagne, which, of course, we procured at our local Costco (another new feeling as Costco is not allowed to sell wine in Pennsylvania).

img_6922N.V. Haton Rosé Champagne Retail $40. 30% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir. We bought a bunch of this from H.E.B.’s Central Market where they were already on sale for $25. I happened upon them when there was an additional 20% off. $20? Wow. I have had several wines from the Haton range now, and while they all have been stellar, I do think the rosé is the best of their non-vintage wines. Located just outside of Epernay and neighboring the Premier Cru vineyards of Hautvilliers and Dizy in the Vallée de la Marne, the village of Damery arguably produces some of the best non-classified grapes in all of Champagne. Small red berry fruit with plenty of yeastiness. This is really what I love about champagne in general and rosé in particular: incredible balance and focus with a slight funkiness that really fits. For $40? Stellar. For $20? A complete steal. Outstanding. 90-91 Points.

img_69802015 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé: Retail $25. Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle. Although we bought several bottles at the beginning of the summer, there were a few left after the calendar officially turned over to Autumn. I decided to open this, though, not because it was still 95° here in Houston, but due to the news that Angelina had served Brad with divorce papers (Bragelina are part owners in the winery). I was not worried about Angelina (she seems like a strong, sensible woman despite the whole vial of blood thing). I was slightly worried about Brad (if the rumors are true). And I was only moderately worried about the kids (I am sure they will be fine financially). No, I was worried about the wine. While I have continually tried to dislike this wine based on its owners, I have to admit, this is a solid rosé. Subtle fruit, brilliant tartness, and impressive depth. I have had a few vintages of this wine, even a couple of years out. And it holds up. If you buy some now and do not get to it until next summer? You will be fine, too. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

N.V. Gruet Brut Rosé: Retail $15. 100% Pinot Pinot Noir. I drink a lot of sparkling wine. No, I drink a TON of bubbles. I dare say that American Gruet from New Mexico is the best bargain going right now and you simply can’t beat this rosé at its price point. Brilliant pinkish orange with a mineral strawberry nose. Deliciously tart (rhubarb anyone?) with luscious fruit and impressive balance. Bubbles like this for $15? Oh yeah, bubble up! Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.

img_7072N.V. Gosset Grande Rosé: Retail $80. 65% Chardonnay, 35% Grand Cru Pinot Noir. My wife got this for me for my birthday from the large chain wine store in Houston. Well, it may have been on the shelves a bit–decided lack of effervescence and a bit of an oxidative note. But heck, it was the first night in our brand new house and we were celebrating so therefore this was Outstanding. I put it back in the fridge, unpacked another couple of boxes, and poured another glass. Really close to a whoa as this has it all: Rich red fruit, impressive acidity, plenty of body, and a killer finish. I knew there was a reason this was my producer and why I chose to open this on our first night in our new home. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.

img_7166N.V. Kirkland Champagne Rosé: Retail $25. 65% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay. I have written about standard Brut (which goes for $20) before, but when searching my previous posts, I found it hard to believe that I have never reviewed this rosé. There are two similarities to the Brut: 1) they are both produced by the respected Janisson Champagne in the Grand Cru village of Verzenay and 2) this wine performs at well above its weight class. Luscious strawberry fruit (with a bit of tart cherry thrown in), loads of minerality. Add a bit of minerality, a touch of nuttiness throughout. This is a bargain at $25 (although I liked it better at $20), and the only reason that anyone should hesitate about putting it on your table? The label is absolutely horrendous. The only way it could be more generic is if it were black and white. Very Good to Outstanding 89-91 Points.

WINE of the WEEK: Ugh. This was tough. And then I decided to eliminate the Gosset Grand Rosé since it would take an extraordinary week for that wine not to be the WotW. I just figured it was as if I were playing playground basketball, choosing teams, and after the first selection was made, Lebron James suddenly showed up. No contest. The problem is that with the Gosset out of the picture, it became even cloudier. The Kirkland Champers is good, but the Haton is better (and therefore a better deal, too). The Gruet is a perennial “go-to” sparkler, worthy of all the accolades it receives. I kept coming back to the one still wine, however. That Bragelina wine (the Château Miraval Rosé) is not only good, but its future is in doubt. I hear through a few sources that the winery is up for sale—hopefully the new owners will maintain quality, but who knows? After all, who thought Brad and Angelina would ever get divorced? I mean, that never happens in Hollywood….

What was your Wine of the Week?

About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Champagne, Chardonnay, Cinsault/Cinsaut, Grenache, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Rolle, Sparkling Wine, Syrah, Vermentino, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to What We Have Been Drinking—11/07/16

  1. SAHMmelier says:

    I say h e b (pronounce each letter as they were the founders initials) while shortening to an affectionate heeb is often heard in jest. Hope that helps 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thewineho says:

    They serve the Mirival at the Ritz Lake Tahoe. Pretty yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tommy Goff says:

    H.E.B. = Howard E. Butts the original proprietor of the ubiquitous southern Texas grocery chain.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ATdF says:

    friday evening with moules et frites: pinot di pinot brut fratelli gancia…double wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am impressed that a Costco wine made the list! Keep an open mind, right? I am on a New Zealand sauvignon blanc kick right now and really enjoyed the Whitecliff Winemaker’s Selection 2016. Happy wining 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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